President Muhammadu Buhari has asked world leaders to consider debt cancellation for developing countries.

The president made the appeal in his speech at the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly.

Critics of the Buhari administration have accused him of sinking Nigeria into debt but the Federal Government has defended its borrowings.

While addressing the UN General Assembly, Buhari equally called for fair and equitable trade policies.

He said such policies will eliminate the need for aid, adding that African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely looking for aid.

“I must commend the current initiatives by the international financial institutions and the G20 aimed at significantly mitigating the economic situation of the indebted countries and urge for more efforts in this regard.”

“Therefore, there is an urgent need to consider expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to include all Developing, Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States facing fiscal and liquidity challenges.

“In addition, a review of the eligibility criteria for debt suspension, including outright cancellation, is needed for countries facing the most severe challenges.

“Nigeria reaffirms that international trade is an engine for development and sustained economic growth, as well as the global eradication of poverty.

“My delegation would like to reaffirm the critical role that a universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system can play in stimulating economic growth and development.

“Fair and equitable trade would eventually eliminate the need for aid. My country and indeed all African countries do not intend to stay indefinitely looking for aid. All we need is a fair and equitable system of international trade,” he said.

Buhari also told the world leaders not to tolerate the recent trend of unconstitutional takeover of power, sometimes through what he called “unilateral changes of constitutions” by some leaders in Africa.

The President spoke on the issue currently rocking the West Africa sub-region

He warned that democratic gains of the past decades in West Africa “are now being eroded” due to these negative trends.